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Is Your Organization Ready for a Crisis?

image of a hand keeping blocks from knowcking nearby blocks down

Article Date: June 1, 2021

Preparation Cannot Wait

Be honest.

When the engine of your building materials manufacturing business is humming – steady sales growth, new product innovations on the horizon, smooth operations – it is natural to become a little complacent. You’ve engineered success, and your team deserves to celebrate a bit.

Ask yourself this question: What would happen if a crisis of any kind broke out at this very moment?

Perhaps it’s an accident at one of your manufacturing facilities that leads to injury or loss of life, effectively grinding your business to a halt and prompting an investigation. Maybe one of your products suddenly becomes the target of a liability claim for poor performance, striking at the heart of your credibility as a building products company. Or, one of your leaders does something that brings embarrassment or heightened scrutiny to the organization, creating a crisis of confidence for employees, prospects, and customers alike.

Think you’ll have time to plan for such a crisis once it has already occurred? You won’t. It’ll be too late. Effective crisis response can only occur when an organization carefully crafts a strategy during the quiet times, when there is time to think and plan.

The Urgency of the Digital Era

In an era where people have multiple platforms at their disposal to share information instantaneously, an organization facing a crisis has little time to react effectively and manage the situation.

Someone shares something on social media involving your company. Others reshare what has already been shared. Suddenly, you’re facing questions from employees, prospects, customers, and the media about your organization.

Having a response infrastructure in place beforehand maximizes your potential to handle the crisis, protect your company’s reputation, and get back on track.

Getting Started: Crisis Response Planning

A crisis response plan for your organization needs to be flexible, agile, and forward-thinking so that it is primed for activation no matter what breaks out.

Consider these four crucial steps to get started:

  1. Create a Team: You will not have time to determine who is serving in what role when your organization is in the midst of a crisis. The first step in developing a crisis response plan is to identify your crisis response team. These are the people that will lead the charge when something occurs. Define their roles and responsibilities – team leader, spokesperson, coordinator. Go even further by identifying understudies in case someone is unavailable.
  2. Confirm a Base of Operations: Where will the crisis team assemble when something happens? What if that location is not available? Do these locations have the resources and infrastructure in place so the crisis response team can operate efficiently and effectively? Do you have a single repository for all the supporting consultants you might need in a crisis – from an attorney, to an insurance company, to a PR firm? Answer these questions during your planning phase, and you’ve taken a host of variables off the table.
  3. Develop a Mindset for the Team: Emotions will run high during the acute phase of a crisis. Team members will need to maintain a clear perspective, digest and distill information in real time, and be prepared to make course corrections at a moment’s notice. Train your team to better understand what they will face when a crisis breaks out. Everyone – customers, employees, the media, prospects, the community at large, local leaders – will have an opinion on what might have happened and may very well weigh in with their thoughts, either online or otherwise. Get your team in a mental place where they can assess the reactions but can maintain clear focus on how the company will react and how it can best secure the organization’s reputation.
  4. Anticipate Certain Scenarios: Whether you manufacture glass for curtain walls, external cladding, or roofing, your business can likely anticipate certain crises. Do so beforehand by fleshing out a scenario and then methodically spelling out the steps necessary to respond to that specific crisis. Such preparation can save precious time.

Real-Time Crisis Management

When a crisis breaks out and you are seeking to protect the organization, you and your team will need to make smart, quick decisions to stay ahead of the flow of information. This does not mean that you should set aside thoughtful contemplation, but it needs to happen in an accelerated fashion. Among the key guiding principles:

  1. Know your audiences and their relationship to the organization.
  2. Gather the facts about what happened, ensuring you have all the information at your disposal.
  3. Establish key messages that serve to share the facts and protect the reputation and future of the organization.
  4. Think several steps ahead when creating communications. Anything you share – a social media post, a website message, an eBlast to employees, a news release to the media – should draw from those initial core messages so you don’t have to reverse course and clarify (or even modify) your position.
  5. Be ready to change and adjust as a crisis evolves and changes.
Before and during times of crises, organizations can benefit greatly from the guidance and counsel of an outside consultant that is not as close to the crisis or the brand. Such consultants can offer clearer thinking during a super-charged event that generates plenty of emotion.

At BLD Marketing, we employ crisis communications experts that have decades of experience in crisis response planning and in managing crises for organizations in the building and construction space. Let us help you build a crisis communications program that ensures you are ready when the unexpected occurs.



BLD Marketing is a results-based, digitally-focused, full-service strategic marketing firm exclusively serving the commercial and residential building materials category.